An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on December 20, 1999. Macau’s status since reverting to Chinese sovereignty is defined in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration (1987) and the Basic Law (the SAR’s de facto constitution). Under the concept of “one country, two systems” articulated in these documents, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in economic matters, and its economic system is to remain unchanged for 50 years following the 1999 reversion to Chinese sovereignty. Macau, a separate customs territory from mainland China, describes itself as a liberal economy and a free port.  Tourism is the basis of the Macau economy. The Government of Macau (GOM) maintains a transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy. The GOM is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment.

In 2002, the GOM ended a long-standing gaming monopoly, awarding two gaming concessions and one sub-concession to consortia with U.S. interests.  This opening encouraged substantial U.S. investment in casinos and hotels and has spurred rapid economic growth in the tourism, gaming, and entertainment sectors, among which the gaming industry constitutes the most important pillar of Macau’s economy. The GOM collected gaming tax revenue of $2.4 billion in 2022, accounting for less than 20% of the total government expenditure of $12.4 billion that year. In 2007, Macau surpassed Las Vegas in annual gaming revenues to become the world’s biggest gaming center after its liberalization of the gaming industry. Prior to the pandemic Macau’s gaming revenues were roughly seven times higher than Las Vegas’s. However, in 2022 Las Vegas once again outperformed Macau largely because the SAR continued its strict border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic by adhering to the PRC’s Zero COVID Policy for a third year.

Macau recorded $5.3 billion in full-year casino gross gaming revenue in 2022, a 51.4 percent decrease from the previous year’s total and hitting a new annual low since 2005. U.S. investment over the past decade is estimated to exceed $24 billion.  In addition to gaming, Macau aspires to position itself as a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism, though to date it has experienced limited success in diversifying its economy.  In 2007, business leaders founded the American Chamber of Commerce of Macau.

Macau also seeks to become a “commercial and trade cooperation service platform” between mainland China and Portuguese-speaking countries.  The GOM has various policies to promote these efforts and to create business opportunities for domestic and foreign investors. Many infrastructure projects are currently underway, such as new casinos, hotels, subways, airport expansion, and the Macau-Taipa 4th vehicle harbor crossing that started construction in August 2020, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perception Index 2022 N/A of 180
Global Innovation Index 2022 N/A of 132
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 $538
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 $46,450


The Joint Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Portuguese Republic on the question of Macau was signed in March 1987, which established the constitutional principle of “one country, two systems.” The “one country, two systems” principle guarantees that the rights related to autonomy, its free-market system, its legal regime, and the liberal society enjoyed by Macau would remain unchanged until at least 2049. Drafted based on the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, Macau’s Basic Law came into effect in December 1999 and laid out the basic principles of Macau’s governance under Chinese sovereignty. The Basic Law also guaranteed that “one country, two systems” would remain essentially unchanged in Macau until at least 2049.

Macau has separate membership from mainland China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom released by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Macau ranked 34th among 180 worldwide economies and ranked 9th in the Asia Pacific region. However, Macau was excluded from the 2021 Index published in March 2021. The Heritage Foundation explained the decision to exclude Macau by saying that developments over the past few years have demonstrated unambiguously that policies offering economic freedom to Macau are ultimately controlled from Beijing.

There are no restrictions placed on foreign investment in Macau as there are no special rules governing foreign investment. Both overseas and domestic firms register under, and are subject to, the same regulations on business, such as the Commercial Code (Decree 40/99/M).

Macau is heavily dependent on the gaming sector and tourism. The GOM aims to diversify Macau’s economy by attracting foreign investment and is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment. Corporate taxes are low, with a tax rate of 12 percent for companies whose net profits exceed $75,000. Companies whose net profits are less than $75,000 are exempt from tax. The top personal tax rate is 12 percent and the first $18,000 of an individual’s taxable income is exempt from personal tax. Macau enacted a new gaming law in June 2022, maintaining a direct 35 percent tax on gaming revenue and increasing from 4 to 5 percent an indirect tax on gaming revenue for a public fund that promotes cultural, scientific and educational development in Macau, as well as a social security fund. The indirect levies can be reduced or exempted if casinos operators can prove they have attracted more non-mainland Chinese visitors to the SAR, as part of a bid to reduce Macau’s over-reliance on Chinese tourists. Macau is attempting to position itself as a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism. All six of Macau’s gambling concessionaires successfully retained their concessions in 2022 and are permitted to operate for another 10 years. As a condition for their concessions being renewed, the casino operators promised to continue making substantial investments in the development of Macau, ultimately agreeing to invest about $15 billion, 90 percent of which will be allocated to the development of non-gaming projects and attracting tourists from foreign markets.

The Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) is the GOM agency responsible for promoting trade and investment activities. IPIM provides one-stop services, including notary services for business registration, and it applies legal and administrative procedures to all local and foreign individuals or organizations interested in setting up a company in Macau.

Macau maintains an ongoing dialogue with investors through various business networks and platforms, such as the IPIM, the Macau Chamber of Commerce, American Chamber of Commerce Macau, and the Macau Association of Banks. Macau participates in the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, a liaison platform that strengthens economic and commercial cooperation among Lusophone nations. The Forum hosts a ministerial-level conference in Macau on a triennial basis to gather businesspeople and government officials from the participating countries as well as representatives from international trade organizations and trade promotion entities.


Foreign firms and individuals are free to establish companies, branches, and representative offices without discrimination or undue regulation in Macau. There are no restrictions on the ownership of such establishments. Company directors are not required to be citizens of, or resident in, Macau, except for the following three professional services which impose residency requirements:

  • Education: An individual applying to establish a school must have a Certificate of Identity or have the right to reside in Macau. The principal of a school must be a Macau resident.
  • Newspapers and magazines: Applicants must first apply for business registration and register with the Government Information Bureau as an organization or an individual. The publisher of a newspaper or magazine must be a Macau resident or have the right to reside in Macau.
  • Legal services: Lawyers from foreign jurisdictions who seek to practice Macau law must first obtain residency in Macau. Foreign lawyers must also pass an examination before they can register with the Lawyers’ Association, a self-regulatory body. The examination is given in Chinese or Portuguese. After passing the examination, foreign lawyers are required to serve an 18-month uninterrupted internship before they can practice law in Macau.


Macau last conducted the WTO Trade Policy Review in November 2020. See 


The IPIM helps foreign investors in registering a company and liaising with the involved agencies for entry into the Macau market. The business registration process typically takes less than 10 working days. Company registration procedures can be found here:  


Macau does not promote or incentivize outward investment, nor does it restrict domestic investors from investing abroad. In 2021, the latest available data, outward direct investment flows of Macau enterprises increased by 173 percent year-on-year to $3.2 billion while the stock of outward direct investment increased 36.1 percent year-on-year to $12.3 billion. Hong Kong and mainland China remained the top two destinations.

Macau has signed bilateral investment treaties (BIT) with Portugal and the Netherlands. It does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States.
Macau and mainland China have a free trade agreement (FTA), the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The agreement provides tariff-free access to mainland China for all Macau-origin products and preferential treatment for 48 service sectors. Macau and the PRC’s Guangdong Province have implemented an agreement on achieving basic liberalization of trade in services, which uses a “negative list” under the CEPA framework that covers 134 service sectors and grants national treatment to Macau’s 58 service industries. In addition, this agreement gives Macau most-favored nation treatment wherein liberalization measures included in FTAs signed by mainland China and other countries are extended to Macau. The framework and content of the agreement serves as a model for basic liberalization of trade in services between Macau and all of mainland China. Under the CEPA framework, there is an investment agreement and an economic and technical cooperation agreement. The investment agreement includes investment access, investment protection and investment facilitation.

In December 2016, the United States signed an Inter-Government Agreement on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act with Macau.

In September 2018, the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters came into force with respect to Macau. As of 2022, the GOM has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) with 16 jurisdictions (the Argentine Republic, the United Kingdom, Guernsey, Japan, Greenland, India, Australia, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Malta, Ireland, Jamaica, and Finland). TIEA negotiations with Germany and New Zealand have been ongoing. Currently, double taxation relief is available under the respective double taxation agreements that Macau has with Belgium, Cape Verde, the PRC, Mozambique, Vietnam, Portugal, Hong Kong, and the latest, Cambodia.

In November 2019, Macau and Hong Kong signed a comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreement that came into effect on January 1, 2021. Under the agreement, any Hong Kong tax paid by Macau residents on income derived from sources in Hong Kong will be allowed as a credit against the Macau tax payable on the same income, and vice versa.


The GOM typically conducts a two-month public consultation when amending or making legislation, including investment laws, and will prepare a draft bill based on the results of the public consultation. The lawmakers then discuss the draft bill before putting it to a final vote. All the processes are transparent and consistent with international norms.

Public comments received by the GOM are not made available online to the public. The draft bills are made available at the Legislative Assembly’s website (, while this website links to the GOM’s Printing Bureau, which publishes laws, rules, and procedures.

Macau’s anti-corruption agency, the Commission Against Corruption (known by its Portuguese acronym CCAC), carries out ombudsman functions to safeguard rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests of individuals and to ensure the impartiality and efficiency of public administration.

Macau’s law on the budgetary framework (Decree 15/2017) aims to reinforce monitoring of public finances and to enhance transparency in the preparation and execution of the fiscal budget.

Macau does not owe debt to any countries. The public can retrieve up-to-date data on public finance from the Financial Services Bureau website   at all times.


Macau has been a member of the WTO since 1995 and adopts international norms. The GOM notified all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Macau, as a signatory to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), has achieved a 100 percent rate of implementation commitments.


Under “one country, two systems,” Macau maintains Continental European law as the foundation of its legal system, which is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The current judicial process is procedurally competent, fair, and reliable. Macau has written commercial law and contract law. The Commercial Code is a comprehensive source of commercial law, while the Civil Code serves as a fundamental source of contractual law. Courts in Macau include the Court of Final Appeal, Intermediate Courts, and Primary Courts. There is also an Administrative Court, which has jurisdiction over administrative and tax cases. These provide an effective means for enforcing property and contractual rights. Currently, the Court of Final Appeal has three judges; the Intermediate Courts have eight judges; and the Primary Courts have 32 judges. The Public Prosecutions Office has 34 prosecutors.
Macau passed a National Security Law (NSL) in 2009 that prohibits and punishes crimes against national security, including treason, secession, sedition, subversion, theft of state secrets, and collusion with foreign political organizations. Preparatory acts leading to any of these crimes may also constitute a criminal offense.

Macau’s courts still have jurisdiction over all local cases except those related to defense and foreign affairs. The 2009 NSL did not affect this jurisdiction.
The GOM’s work to revise its national security system has not been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. After completing a shorter-than-usual 45-day public consultation in October, 2022, the GOM submitted a draft bill amending the 2009 National Security Law to the Legislative Assembly, which was passed in December with support from all 33 lawmakers. The new NSL intentionally enlarged the scope of the law. For instance, the new regime expanded the coverage of secession crimes to include non-violent acts or other offenses. The crime of subversion against the PRC government is now broader and defined as subversion against all organs of central political power of the PRC. Provisions to penalize any person abroad who commits crimes against China’s national security were also subsumed under the new National Security Law. While human rights groups have raised concerns that the NSL’s “vague and broad provisions” could erode freedom of association and expression in Macau, no one has been charged under the Macau NSL since its enactment in 2009.


Macau’s legal system is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Foreign and domestic companies register under the same rules and are subject to the same set of commercial and bankruptcy laws (Decree 40/99/M).


Macau has no agency that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns, nor does it have a competition law. The Commercial Code (Law No. 16/2009) contains basic elements of a competition policy for commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. In response to public outcries of price-fixing schemes in the Macau oil and food retail industries, in March 2019, the GOM commissioned Macau University of Science and Technology to conduct research on how to optimize market institutions to help foster healthy private sector competition. The research results were released to the public in May 2020. Based on this research, the GOM claimed that a legislative solution such as an anti-monopoly or anti-trust law would not necessarily bring about lower prices. Rather, the GOM appointed the Macau Consumer Council to monitor local market prices and determine whether new legislation on market competition is warranted. Speaking at a Legislative Assembly plenary meeting on consumer rights protection law in June 2021, the Secretary for Economy and Finance revealed that the authorities still do not have a specific timetable for enacting competition and antitrust laws, explaining that Macau is a civilized society, and legislation is always the last resort to promote ethical conduct and integrity.


The United States is not aware of any direct or indirect actions to expropriate. Legal expropriations of private property may occur if it is in the public interest. In such cases, the GOM will exchange the private property with an equivalent public property based on the fair market value and conditions of the former. The exchange of property is in accordance with established principles of international law. There is no remunerative compensation.


ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Both the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) apply to Macau. The Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Decree 55/98/M) provides for enforcement of awards under the 1958 New York Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The United States is only aware of one investment dispute involving U.S. or other foreign investors or contractors and the GOM. In March 2010, a low-cost airline carrier was reportedly forced to cancel flight services because of a credit dispute with its fuel provider, triggering events which led to the airline’s de-licensing. Macau courts declared the airline bankrupt in September 2010. The airline’s major shareholder, a U.S. private investment company, filed a case in the Macau courts seeking a judgment as to whether a GOM administrative act led to the airline’s demise. The Court of Second Instance held hearings in May and June 2012. In November 2013, the Court of Second Instance rejected the appeal.

Private investment disputes are normally handled in the courts or via private negotiation. Alternatively, disputes may be referred to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center or the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center. The Arrangement for Mutual Service of Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Cases between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macau Special Administrative Region came into effect in August 2020, significantly accelerating the service of such judicial documents between the two regions.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Macau has an arbitration law (Decree 55/98/M), which adopts the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law for international commercial arbitration. The GOM accepts international arbitration of investment disputes between itself and investors. Local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The GOM in May 2020 enacted the new Arbitration Law, which unifies the laws governing domestic and international arbitration in Macau. This arbitration reform incorporated best international practices with effective dispute resolution techniques for investment disputes, including the introduction of emergency arbitrator mechanism, limitation on rights of appeal, procedure for courts assistance in taking of evidence, recognition and enforcement of interim measures, and publication of arbitral awards.

Macau established the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center in June 1998. The objective of the Center is to promote the resolution of disputes through arbitration and conciliation, providing the disputing parties with alternative resolutions other than judicial litigation.
Foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters may be enforced in Macau. The enforcement of foreign judgments is stipulated in Articles 1199 and 1200 of the Civil Procedure Code. A foreign court decision will be recognized and enforced in Macau if it qualifies as a final decision supported by authentic documentation and that its enforcement will not breach Macau’s public policy.


Commercial and bankruptcy laws are written under the Macau Commercial Code, the Civil Procedure Code, and the Penal Code. Bankruptcy proceedings can be invoked by an application from the bankrupt business, by petition of the creditor, or by the Public Prosecutor. There are four methods used to prevent the occurrence of bankruptcy: the creditors meeting, the audit of the company’s assets, the amicable settlement, and the creditor agreement. According to Articles 615-618 of the Civil Code and Article 351-353 of the Civil Procedure Code, a creditor who has a justified fear of losing the guarantee of his credits may request seizure of the assets of the debtor. Bankruptcy offenses are subject to criminal liability.

In October 2020, Macau Post and Telecommunications Bureau announced the establishment of a credit information system, allowing banks to inquire about the credit status of lenders or guarantors when approving individual customer credit applications, while mandating that those who want to borrow money from banks must apply for a personal credit report from the new system for the bank’s assessment.


To attract foreign investment, the GOM offers investment incentives to investors on a national treatment basis. These incentives are contained in Decrees 23/98/M and 49/85/M and are provided so long as companies can prove they are doing one of the following: promoting economic diversification, contributing to the promotion of exports to new unrestricted markets, promoting added value within their activity’s value chain, or contributing to technical modernization. There is no requirement that Macau residents own shares. These incentives are categorized as fiscal incentives, financial incentives, and export diversification incentives.

Fiscal incentives include full or partial exemption from profit/corporate tax, industrial tax, property tax, stamp duty for transfer of properties, and consumption tax. The tax incentives are consistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, as they are neither export subsidies nor import substitution subsidies as defined in the WTO Agreement. In 2019, the GOM put forward an enhanced tax deduction for research and development (R&D) expenditure incurred for innovation and technology projects by companies whose registered capital reached $125,000, or whose average taxable profits reached $62,500 per year in three consecutive years. The tax deduction amounts to 300 percent for the first $375,000 of qualifying R&D expenditure and 200 percent for the remaining amount, subject to a limit of $1.9 million in total. In addition, income received from Portuguese speaking countries is exempt from the corporate tax, provided such income has been subject to tax in its place of origin.

Two new laws to encourage financial leasing activities in Macau became effective in April 2019. Under the new regime, the minimum capital requirement of a financial leasing company is reduced from $3.75 million to $1.25 million. In addition, the acquisition by the financial leasing company of a property exclusively for its sole use has an exemption of up to $62,500 from a stamp duty. An approved financial leasing company can also be exempted from stamp duty for registration of initial and additional capital, interest and commission, and financial contracts.

Financial incentives include government-funded interest subsidies. Export diversification incentives include subsidies given to companies and trade associations attending trade promotion activities organized by IPIM. Only companies registered with the Economic and Technological Development Bureau (ETDB) may receive subsidies for costs such as space rental or audio-visual material production. Macau also provides other subsidies for the installation of anti-pollution equipment.

In order to push the popularization of e-commerce in all walks of life, companies using services provided by eligible e-commerce operators or websites for their business promotion can receive subsidies up to $3,750 per year from IPIM.


Macau is a free port; however, there are four types of dutiable commodities: liquors, tobacco, vehicles, and petrol (gasoline). Licenses must be obtained from the ETDB prior to importation of these commodities.

In order to promote the meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) and logistics industries in Macau, the GOM has accepted the ATA Carnet (Temporary Admission), an international customs document providing an efficient method for the temporary import and re-export of goods that eases the way for foreign exhibitions and businesses.

The latest CEPA addition established principles of trade facilitation, including simplifying customs procedures, enhancing transparency, and strengthening cooperation.


Macau does not follow a forced localization policy in which foreign investors must use domestic content in goods or technology. The Macau government adopts stringent foreign labor policies, however, mandating that Macau residents receive priority in the hiring process so that their opportunities for work are not compromised by the importation of foreign workers.

Non-residents are approved to work in Macau only when employers are unable to find suitable candidates in the local labor market. Employers who want to hire foreign labor must request a prior authorization from the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau and attest that the manpower provided by the non-resident workers is, according to the law, supplemental, provisional, secondary, and sustainable. Critics of the Macau labor policies say the asymmetrical legal provisions in the hiring process between Macau residents and non-resident undermine the labor rights of the foreign worker on a practical level.

Applications for employing foreign workers are processed by the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau.

There are no requirements by the GOM for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (i.e., backdoors into hardware and software or turning over keys for encryption).

According to the Personal Data Protection Act (Decree 8/2005), if there is transfer of personal data to a destination outside Macau, the opinion of the Office for Personal Data Protection – the regulatory authority responsible for supervising and enforcing the Act – must be sought to confirm if the destination ensures an adequate level of protection.

In December 2019, Macau’s Cybersecurity Law came into force. Under this law, public and private network operators in certain industries must meet obligations, including providing real-time access to select network data to Macau authorities, with the stated aim of protecting the information network and computer systems. For example, network operators must register and verify the identity of users before providing telecommunication services. The new law creates new investment and operational costs for affected businesses and has raised some privacy and surveillance concerns.

In December 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed a new wiretapping bill stipulating duties of conservation of data for telecommunications operators, in which they must keep the communication records, except the content of communications, produced by the use of their services for one year. During the retention period, telecommunications operators must guarantee the security and confidentiality of relevant data.


Private ownership of property is enshrined in the Basic Law. There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership. Macau has a sound banking mortgage system, which is under the supervision of the Macau Monetary Authority. There are only a small number of freehold property interests in the older part of Macau.

According to the Cartography and Cadaster Bureau, 21 percent of land parcels in Macau do not have clear title, for unknown reasons. Industry observers commented that no one knows whether these land parcels will be privately or publicly owned in the future.

The Land Law (Decree 10/2013) stipulates that provisional land concessions cannot be renewed upon their expiration if their leaseholders fail to finish developing the respective plots of land within a maximum concession period of 25 years. The leaseholders will not only be prohibited from renewing the undeveloped concessions – regardless of who or what caused the non-development – but also have no right to be indemnified or compensated.


Macau is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 Report. Macau is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Macau has acceded to the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Patents and trademarks are registered under Decree 97/99/M. Macau’s copyright laws are compatible with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and government offices are required to use only licensed software. The GOM devotes considerable attention to intellectual property rights enforcement and coordinates with copyright holders. Source Identification Codes are stamped on all optical discs produced in Macau. The ETDB uses an expedited prosecution arrangement to speed up punishment of accused retailers of pirated products. The copyright protection law has been extended to cover online privacy. Copyright infringement for trade or business purposes is subject to a fine or maximum imprisonment of four years.

Macau Customs maintains an enforcement department to investigate incidents of intellectual property (IP) theft. Macau Customs works closely with mainland Chinese authorities, foreign customs agencies, and the World Customs Organization to share best practices to address criminal organizations engaging in IP theft. In 2022, Macau Customs seized a total of 2,622 pieces of counterfeit goods, including 836 bags, 600 daily necessities, 485 garments, 35 accessories. In 2022, the ETDB filed a total of 12,432 applications for trademark registrations and 31 for invention patent registrations.


Macau allows free flows of financial resources. Foreign investors can obtain credit in the local financial market. The GOM is stepping up its efforts to develop finance leasing businesses and exploring opportunities to establish a system for trade credit insurance to take a greater role in promoting cooperation between companies from Portuguese-speaking countries.

Since 2010, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has provided cross-border settlement of funds for Macau residents and institutions involved in transactions for RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong. Macau residents and institutions can purchase or sell, through Macau RMB participating banks, RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong and Macau. The Macau RMB Real Time Gross Settlements (RMB RTGS) System came into operation in March 2016 to provide real-time settlement services for RMB remittances and interbank transfer of RMB funds. The RMB RTGS System is intended to improve risk management and clearing efficiency of RMB funds and foster Macau’s development into an RMB clearing platform for trade settlement between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. In December 2019, the PBoC canceled an existing quota of $3,057 exchanged in Macau for each individual transaction.
Macau does not have a stock market, but Macau companies can seek a listing in Hong Kong’s stock market. Macau and Hong Kong financial regulatory authorities cooperate on issues of mutual concern. Under the Macau Insurance Ordinance, the Macau Monetary Authority authorizes and monitors insurance companies. There are 12 life insurance companies and 13 non-life insurance companies in Macau. In 2021, total net profit from insurance services including life insurance and general insurance amounted to $2.8 billion.

In October 2018, the Legislative Assembly took steps to tackle cross-border tax evasion. Offshore institutions in Macau and their tax benefits, including credit institutions, insurers, underwriters, and offshore trust management companies, were thoroughly abolished starting from January 1, 2021. Decree 9/2012, in effect since October 2012, stipulates that banks must compensate depositors up to a maximum of $62,500 in case of a bank failure. To finance the deposit protection scheme, the GOM has injected $18.75 million into the deposit protection fund in 2013, with banks paying an annual contribution of 0.05 percent of the number of protected deposits held. The deposit protection fund had $60.75 million available by the end of 2018, according to the Macau Monetary Authority.


The Macau Monetary Authority functions as a de facto central bank. It is responsible for maintaining the stability of Macau’s financial system and for managing its currency reserves and foreign assets. At present, there are thirty-nine financial institutions in Macau, including 12 local banks and 21 branches of banks incorporated outside Macau. There is also a finance company with restrictive banking activities, two financial leasing companies and a non-bank credit institution dedicated to the issuance and management of electronic money stored value card services. In addition, there are 10 moneychangers, four cash remittance companies, two financial intermediaries, six exchange counters, two payment service institutions, and three other financial institutions (two are a representative office). The Bank of China (Macau) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are the two largest banks in Macau, with total assets of $79.8 billion and $33.9 billion, respectively. Total deposits amounted to $86.5 billion by the end of 2022. As of December 2022, total international assets of banks in Macau decreased to $275.1 billion). In the fourth quarter of 2022, banks in Macau maintained a capital adequacy ratio of 15.1 percent, well above the minimum eight percent recommended by the Bank for International Settlements. Accounting systems in Macau are consistent with international norms.

The Macau Monetary Authority prohibits the city’s financial institutions, banks, and payment services from providing services to businesses issuing virtual currencies or tokens. In December 2020, the Macau Monetary Authority said it is communicating with PBoC about the feasibility of issuing digital currency in Macau. In a Legislative Assembly plenary meeting in April 2021, Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng continued to reiterate that the GOM is closely following the trend of digital currency development around the world and maintains close communication with the PBoC regarding the implementation of the digital renminbi in Macau. However, no specific timetable or update has been given since his remarks in 2021.


Profits and other funds associated with an investment, including investment capital, earnings, loan repayments, lease payments, and capital gains, can be freely converted and remitted. The domestic currency, the Macau Official Pataca (MOP), is pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar at 1.03 and indirectly to the U.S. Dollar at an exchange rate of approximately MOP 7.99 = USD 1. The Macau Monetary Authority is committed to exchange rate stability through maintenance of the peg to the Hong Kong Dollar.

Although Macau imposes no restrictions on capital flows or foreign exchange operations, exporters are required to convert 40 percent of foreign currency earnings into MOP. This legal requirement does not apply to tourism services.


There are no recent changes to or plans to change investment remittance policies. Macau does not restrict the remittance of profits and dividends derived from investment, nor does it require reporting on cross-border remittances. Foreign investors can bring capital into Macau and remit it freely.

A Memorandum of Understanding on anti-money laundering (AML) actions between Macau Monetary Authority and PBoC, increased information exchanges between the two parties, as well as cooperation on onsite inspections of casino operations. Furthermore, Macau’s terrorist asset-freezing law, which is based on United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, requires travelers entering or leaving with cash or other negotiable monetary instruments valued at $15,000 or more to sign a declaration form and submit it to the Macau Customs Service.

In December 2019, PBoC increased a daily limit set on the amount of RMB-denominated funds sent by Macau residents to personal accounts held in mainland China from $6,250 to $10,000.


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested in July 2014 that the GOM invest its large fiscal reserves through a fund modeled on sovereign wealth funds to protect the city’s economy from economic downturns. In November 2015, the GOM decided to establish such a fund, called the MSAR Investment and Development Fund (MIDF), through a substantial allocation from the city’s ample fiscal reserves. However, the GOM in 2019 withdrew a draft bill that proposed the use of $7.7 billion to seed the MIDF over public concerns about the government’s supervisory capability.

The GOM, alongside the Macau Industrial and Commercial Development Fund and the Science and Technology Development Fund, established the Macau Urban Renewal Limited in mid-2019 and injected $12.5 million as initial working capital. The executing entity is responsible for conducting urban renewal work in Macau. With the new Legal Regime of Urban Renewal approved by the Legislative Assembly in December 2021, the perennial controversy regarding the percentage of consent required from property owners to proceed with the reconstruction of buildings was solved.

Several economic sectors – including cable television, telecommunications, electricity, and airport/port management, are run by private companies under concession contracts from the GOM. The GOM holds a small percentage of shares (ranging from one to 10 percent) in these government-affiliated enterprises. The government set out in its Commercial Code the basic elements of a competition policy with regard to commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. Court cases related to anti-competitive behavior remain rare.


The GOM has given no indication in recent years that it has plans for a privatization program.

The six gaming concessionaires that dominate Macau’s economy pay five percent of gross gaming revenues to the government to fund cultural and social programs in the SAR. Several operators also directly fund gaming addiction rehabilitation programs. Some government-affiliated entities maintain active corporate social responsibility programs. For example, Companhia de Electricidade de Macau, an electric utility, provides educational programs and repair services free-of-charge to underprivileged residents.

The GOM did not put any restrictions on the qualifications of the potential bidders in the 2002 public tender of gaming concession. Twenty-one companies, including those holding capital in Macau, Hong Kong, the United States, Malaysia, Australia, United Kingdom, and Taiwan, submitted bidding papers, but the government eventually granted concessions to only three bidders: SJM, Wynn Macau, and Galaxy Entertainment Group. Subsequently, another three casino operators, Sands China, MGM China Holdings, and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, were allowed into the market via sub-concessions spun off from the three original concessionaires selected in the 2002 public tender.

The GOM renewed the above-mentioned six successful bidders’ gaming concessions for an additional ten years until December 2032 in a new public tender between September and November 2022. In addition to paying a total of 40 percent tax on gambling revenues, including levies for social causes, the “Big Six” will invest a total of about $15 billion in Macau over the next ten years, 90 percent of which must be used for developing non-gaming projects and attracting international visitors in a bid to help Macau to diversify its economic structure. Under the framework of the new gaming concession, the corporate social responsibilities of the six casino operators in Macau have continued unabated. In addition to the well-known must-do to protect the employment of local people and give priority to assigning them to senior positions in the casino, the six casino operators must also formulate and implement their own corporate social responsibility initiatives to cover social causes and philanthropic affairs in the areas of people’s livelihood, culture, heritage, arts, sports, and education.

Macau is not a member of the OECD, and hence, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are not applicable to Macau companies.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

In February 2006, Mainland China extended the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to Macau. Macau has laws to combat corruption by public officials and the private sector. Anti-corruption laws are applied in a non-discriminatory manner and effectively enforced. One provision stipulates that anyone who offers a bribe to foreign public officials (including officials from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and officials of public international organizations in exchange for a trade deal could receive a jail term of up to three years or fines.

The CCAC is a member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities and a member of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Asia and the Pacific. The CCAC’s guidelines on prevention and repression of corruption in the private sector and a booklet Corruption Prevention Tips for Private Companies provide rules of conduct that private companies must observe. In 2021, the GOM enacted the new Public Procurement Law that aims to prevent service contract splits of similar nature and enhance transparency in public procurement processes for goods and services through pulling out a standardized procurement procedure and more specific directives.

Resources to Report Corruption

CHAN Tsz King, Commissioner, Commission Against Corruption, 105, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, 17/F, Centro Golden Dragon, Macau
+853- 2832-6300

Macau is politically stable. The United States is not aware of any incidents in recent years involving politically motivated damage to projects or installations.

In 2021, Macau election authorities for the first time in the history of the SAR disqualified 21 pro-democracy candidates from running in its Legislative Assembly election. Macau’s pro-democracy politicians, which traditionally occupied a small minority in its legislature, were disqualified for disloyalty to the Macau SAR and PRC government. The absence of pro-democracy candidates on the ballot caused voter turnout to fall to its lowest level in more than twenty years.

Macau’s unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent for the entire population in December 2022. Foreign businesses cite a constant shortage of skilled workers – a result of the past decade’s boom in entertainment facilities – as a top constraint on their operations and future expansion. The government is studying proposals to resolve the human resources problem through labor importation schemes for unskilled and skilled workers who cannot be recruited locally. However, both local and foreign casino operators in Macau are required by law to employ only Macau residents as croupiers. Taxi and bus drivers must also be local residents.

Macau does not have any policies that waive labor laws to attract or retain investment. The rights for workers to form trade unions and to strike are both enshrined in the Basic Law, but there are no laws in Macau that specifically deal with those rights. The law does not provide that workers can collectively bargain, and while workers have the right to strike, there is no specific protection in the law from retribution if workers exercise this right. Labor unions are independent of the government and employers, by law and in practice.

According to the Labor Relations Law, a female worker cannot be dismissed, except with just cause (e.g., willful disobedience to orders given by superiors, or violation of regulations on occupational hygiene and safety), during her pregnancy or within three months of giving birth. In May 2020, the GOM amended the Labor Relations Law specifically to extend the minimum paid maternity leave period and introduce employer-paid paternity leave. Under the new amendment, female employees are entitled to at least 70 days of maternity leave while fathers are entitled to five working days of employer-paid paternity leave.

In practice, either the employer or the employee may rescind the labor contract with or without just cause. In general, any circumstance that makes it impossible to continue the labor relation can constitute just cause for rescission of the contract. If the employer terminates the contract with the worker without just cause, the employer must pay the employee severance pay. In the event of dismissal, with or without just cause, employees are entitled to compensation depending on the length of the employment relationship. In addition, Macau’s social security system, which is regulated by Decree 84/89/M, provides local workers with economic aid when they are elderly, unemployed, or sick.

Workers who believe they were dismissed unlawfully can bring a case to court or lodge a complaint with the Labor Affairs Bureau. Even without formal collective bargaining rights, companies often negotiate with unions, although the government may act as an intermediary. There is no indication that past disputes or appeals were subject to lengthy delays.

The Labor Relations Law does not contain provisions regarding collective bargaining, which is not common at the company or industry level.

The GOM has put measures in place to replace some foreign workers with Macau residents. Macau has a law imposing criminal penalties for employers of illegal migrants and preventing foreign workers from changing employers in Macau. The government has used the proceeds of a tax on the import of temporary workers for retraining local unemployed people.

Effective November 1, 2020, Macau employees are protected by the universal minimum wage law which stipulates that the monthly salary of Macau employees must be at least $832), with a minimum hourly wage of $4.

Actions by the Government of Macau have triggered controversies and accusations of discrimination against foreign employees since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in July 2022, Macau health authorities issued a compulsory order requiring all Filipino nationals in the city, including Macau residents who hold Filipino passports, to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test every day starting July 22, citing frequent social gatherings within the city’s Filipino community. Other communities in the city were not subject to this requirement. Representatives from Macau’s almost 30,000-strong Filipino population called the policy “blatant racism.”

DFC coverage is not available in Macau.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $30,121 2021 $30,120!/step2/PredefinedReport/en-US/32

Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 $1,463 2021 $538 BEA data available at

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2017 $17 BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2019 138.4% 2021 155.6% UNCTAD data available at

* Source for Host Country Data: Macau Statistics and Census Service 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 37,745 100% Total Outward 7,841 100%
China, P.R: Hong Kong 11,328 30% China, P.R: Mainland 8,372 107%
China, P.R: Mainland 8,369 22% China, P.R: Hong Kong 1,110 14%
Cayman Islands 7,816 21% Vietnam 54 1%
British Virgin Islands 4,751 13% N/A N/A N/A
United States 2,358 6% N/A N/A N/A
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Source: International Monetary Fund data available at 

Adam Moroff, Vice Consul, Economic Affairs
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau
26 Garden Road, Central

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Macau
Build a Custom Report

01 / Select a Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future